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Big City Living: A Very Short Play

Characters: HOMELESS MAN  – Late 40s, early 50s.

Setting: Downtown Chicago, summer afternoon, present day.

Note: No seats for the audience since they’re in the play. City living is not a spectator sport.

Scene 1:

HOMELESS MAN sits on top of a milk crate and visibly urinates while the audience walks briskly on-stage, going about their business. When he is finished, he stands up, grabs his milk crate, and walks off-stage. 

END OF PLAY

Other stuff:

  • Based on a real event. You see a lot of odd stuff walking around Chicago.
  • Finished Gone With The Wind which was highly entertaining and wholly depressing.
  • The reading of Eclipsed by Danai Gurira I’m involved in (assistant dramaturg) is tomorrow which is exciting. The actresses were fantastic in rehearsal so it should be a great time. There’s also a cool pre-show event which will hopefully come together well. And I’m doing the post-show discussion O.O
  • I really need to do some more writing 😦 Not writing when you should be writing is gross.
  • Don’t stay up until 3 am Skyping if you have to go across the city the next morning.

Full Reset

My novel draft was already suffering from my lack of planning (no subplots, far too short, etc.) but when I realized a few days ago that a major structural change wasn’t working, I decided to set what I’d written aside, take a few days to outline, and start a new draft. I’d attempted a two-setting novel in two parts, but all the tension and character dynamics in Part 1 were lost when the main character went to the new setting in Part 2, so I scrapped it, and once I did that it seemed best to address the other issues too. Most people caution against restarting a first draft since you might never finish if you keep going back. For a time I listened, pushing forward despite my doubts. Now that it’s clearly wrong, though, I’m trying something else. No sense in holding on to a failing strategy (in writing or life). The outlining has been going well so far, and hopefully it’ll lead to a stronger story. Worst comes to worst, I’ll still have what I’ve already written to fall back on.

Other stuff:

  • I’m the assistant dramaturg for The Yard x Steppenwolf’s reading of Eclipsed by Danai Gurira (an excellent play by the way). I wasn’t gonna do anything but read and write this summer, but I was offered the position and it seemed cool so I said yes. I then googled what a dramaturg was. My only production experience is being in the PR crew for a play as a high school freshman, so this is definitely a step out of my comfort zone. It’s been going well so far though 🙂
  • In more theater news, I saw Mary Page Marlowe and enjoyed it. Especially liked the structure: a non-chronological account of Mary Page Marlowe’s life with seven actresses playing her at different life stages.
  • The only thing more entertaining than watching a play is arriving early and people-watching before the play starts. A man a few rows behind me was reading about the performers in the play guide. He then asked his friend, “Why are there so many Mary Page Marlowes?”After his friend explained it, another of their friends said, “Oh, I thought they just had a lot of understudies.”
  • Why did no one tell me about Love & Friendship earlier? Saw it today and it was great. It’s a movie adaptation of Lady Susan by Jane Austen, an excellent epistolary novella she wrote when she was 19. As if that’s not great enough, it’s getting rave reviews. Can’t believe I’ve been blessed with this and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies in the same year.
  • Staying at home all day is boring but also the only thing I’m interested in doing.
  • I did end up getting a ticket to for the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series. Going on Friday since those had the cheapest tickets. It’s not a race day (it’s just the practice day) but it should still be pretty cool. Hoping for a nice turnout. Also hoping to meet my rich, posh, gorgeous future wife. If you’re wondering what it’s like, here’s the promotional video.
  • A friend hooked me up with a gig serving at an anniversary brunch for her friend’s mom this weekend and I’m hoping it doesn’t bite. On the plus side she pays well so that’s exciting.
  • Gone With The Wind is the truth. Am about 550 pages in so far and loving it. Only 900 pages to go!

Portrait of a Young Artist

This morning I heard about Ratsliveonnoevilstar, an Annie Clark (aka St. Vincent) EP released in 2003 and recorded while she was at Berklee College of Music. Being a huge St. Vincent fan, I played it immediately. It’s good. Really good. And it made me realize something: when it comes to my favorite artists, I imagine them arriving fully formed, but there are many projects before they make anything they can show publicly. Annie played guitar since she was little, got into a well-known music school, tried and failed to make it in New York, and toured with another group before her first album in 2007. Now she’s released four acclaimed albums and has a Grammy. It’s nice to know that people you look up to were once at the same place you are and got through it.

Other stuff:

  • If you like it, you can get the EP here (it’s not available commercially anymore).
  • Annie Clark also has a great video on making art as part of the MAKERS series.
  • One thing I miss about dorm life and Club 205 is not having conversations like this.
  • Am now 19. Hoping this new age leads to some killer art 🙂

Micro-creativity

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When you’re an artist surrounded by non-artists (like when your dorm is filled with science dorks), it’s important to have creative outlets that sustain and challenge you. Having larger projects is great, but it’s important to have lower-stakes things to do too; they keep you in practice, give chances to experiment, and are tons of fun. Some ways I’ve been doing this is through my journal and this blog. I also make custom bookmarks on note cards. It gives me a non-writing creative outlet and it’s fun, even though I suck at drawing. So yeah, give micro-creativity a try people.